Filming Location,  Movies,  TV

The Safari Inn from “True Romance”, “Coach Carter”, “Monk”, “Desperate Housewives”, and more

LOCATION

The Safari Inn in Burbank, CA, which has been the backdrop for many TV shows, movies, and music videos.

ADDRESS

Safari Inn
1911 W Olive Ave
Burbank, CA
coastanabelle.com/safari


STORY & PHOTOS

Most TV shows are going to film at a motel sooner or later, especially crime dramas or sexy soaps. So it’s no surprise that the Safari Inn in Burbank (located very near Warner Brothers and ABC Studios) has popped up in quite a few shows and a couple of movies, too.

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The Safari Inn plays a rather prominent role in eighth-season “Monk” episode titled “Mr. Monk’s Favorite Show”. In the episode, Monk’s favorite childhood actress shoots a man she claims was trying to kill her at a motel – you guessed it, that motel is the Safari, and the actual sign and name were used on the show.

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We first see the actress Christine Rapp (Elizabeth Perkins) check in at the Safari’s actual registration office.

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After getting her room assignment, Christine walks up the staircase adjacent to the office (and right before the pool). She is followed by a sketchy-looking dude in a hoodie.

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Moments later, we hear gunshots and sketchy dude’s body comes tumbling down the stairs. The police cordon off the area as a crime scene, giving us good shots of the Safari’s pool area and parking lot when Monk (Tony Shaloub) and gang show up to investigate.

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Of course, the pool area doesn’t always look that creepy! On a sunny day it’s a nice place to lay out and relax! Take it from me:

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That’s a pretty direct view of the crime scene from my lounge chair! Here’s my friend Alex and I taking a dip back in 2007:

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And here’s what the registration area/staircase looks like when it’s not staged for a crime scene:

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At the end of the episode when the truth is revealed, we get some cool black and white shots of this area (warning: potential SPOILER ALERT):

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The Safari Inn also makes an appearance on the fourth season of “Prison Break”, in the 2008 episode titled “The Price”.

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The stairs you can see behind Sara (Sara Wayne Callies) are next to the pool and the check-in office, the same spot used extensively on “Monk”. Sara would have been at a room in the left corner of the lot, across from the registration area.

In 2010, the motel was seen on “Desperate Housewives” in episode 709, “Pleasant Little Kingdom”.

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The hotel is the backdrop for Gaby (Eva Longoria) saying a tearful goodbye to Grace (Cecilia Balagot). Producers didn’t make many changes for their shoot, as the motel looks pretty much the same in real life:

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You can also see the Safari briefly in episode 404 of “Six Feet Under”; it’s where Ruth (Frances Conroy) and George (James Cromwell) visit George’s estranged son Kyle (James Waterston) and producers didn’t try to disguise the location at all:

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The interior of a Safari Inn room is used as the site of a rape and murder in episode 716 of “The Closer”:

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“CSI” is pictured on the Safari’s Wall of Fame, but I’m not sure which episode is featured (maybe multiple!). On film, you can famously see the motel  in 1993’s “True Romance”. The Safari embraces this and hosts a “True Romance” Fest! How cool is that? In 1995’s “Apollo 13”, the Safari Inn stands in for the Florida hotel where Marilyn stays and loses her wedding ring:

The hotel has also appeared in 2005’s “Coach Carter”; it’s where the Coach (Samuel L. Jackson) and the team are staying when Worm (Antwon Tanner) and Jason (Channing Tatum) gather up the other guys and sneak out to a party. The guys are staying on the second level of the Inn:

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They also run past the registration office and the pool/staircase seen in “Monk”:

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The inside of a couple of rooms are used when  Coach Carter goes to check on the boys and realizes they’re missing:

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The Safari Inn is adjacent to the (nicer) Coast Anabelle Inn and is only a short distance from ABC, NBC, Universal Studios and Warner Brothers Studios. (Fun fact: Samuel L. Jackson filmed his “Coach Carter” scenes at the Safari and stayed at the Coast Anabelle just days before I stayed there on my first-ever trip to California!) If you’re looking to stay somewhere with an on-screen history, check out the Safari! They even have a “Wall of Fame” on the wall outside their registration office:

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I love stuff like that, because it makes me feel like much less of a dork when I’m staking out locations!


STORY & PHOTO CREDITS

Written by Christina LeBlanc
Location photos by Christina LeBlanc and Lily Elowitch
Resources: IMDb

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